TITLE=CLINTON-INDIA ONITER (L)
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INTRO: President Clinton holds talks today (Friday)
with visiting Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee in a meeting both sides say will be another
building block in an improving bilateral relationship.
VOA's David Gollust reports from the White House.
TEXT: The talks here will be a continuation of the
dialogue the President began with Mr.Vajpayee last
March when he made the first trip by a U-S President
to India in more than two decades.
Mr. Clinton also stopped briefly in Pakistan for talks
on the South Asian nuclear rivalry and Kashmir. And in
a talk with reporters on the eve of the Vajpayee
visit, the President said he hopes he has at least
laid groundwork for a successful U-S effort to defuse
tensions on the sub-continent:
I still hope that, if not while I'm here then in
the future, because of the groundwork we've
laid, the United States can play a positive role
to a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir dispute,
which has been at the core of the difficulties
between India and Pakistan for more than a half-
Citing achievements of South Asian immigrants in U-S
high-tech industries, Mr. Clinton said it is "tragic"
that the regional conflict has held back the economic
progress of their countrymen at home.
U-S-Indian relations came under severe strain in 1998
when India conducted a series of nuclear tests which
was followed by a round of testing by Pakistan.
U-S economic sanctions stemming from the tests remain
in place. And in a speech to the U-S Congress
Thursday, Prime Minister Vajpayee acknowledged that
security issues have "cast a shadow" over U-S-Indian
But he said both sides share a commitment to -
ultimately - eliminating nuclear weapons and have no
clash of interests:
We do not wish to unravel your non-proliferation
efforts. We wish you to understand our security
concerns. We are at a historic moment in our
ties. As we embark on our common endeavor to
build a new relationship, we must give practical
shape to our shared belief that democracies can
be friends, partners and allies. (applause)
Mr. Vajpayee did not mention Pakistan by name in the
address. But he condemned what he said was "foreign
sponsored terrorism" in Kashmir and Punjab - both
having separatist conflicts India blames on its
The Indian leader also condemned global economic
inequities, saying the current situation in which two-
thirds of the world's people live in poverty is
Officials here say the President and Mr. Vajpayee will
discuss ways of fostering U-S investments in the
Indian economy, which is one of the world's fastest-
growing and includes a burgeoning high-tech industry.
In addition to his discussions with Mr. Clinton, Prime
Minister Vajpayee will have a luncheon meeting and
talks at the State Department with Vice President and
Democratic party presidential candidate Al Gore.
14-Sep-2000 17:08 PM EDT (14-Sep-2000 2108 UTC)
Source: Voice of America